Published in the Stevens County Times
Although pollution from industries and sewers has decreased over the last few decades,
nutrient pollution coming from runoff from our lawns, roads, and agriculture increasingly
pollutes our water supplies, lakes and rivers. The most common nutrient that has increasingly
polluted our water is nitrate. Too much nitrate pollution can not only leave our aquatic life
struggling to survive, but can also cause an increased risk of cancer in adults. Higher levels of
nitrate can even cause the fatal methemoglobinemia (blue baby syndrome) in babies.
To combat this, and make sure everyone remains healthy, you can use fertilizer without
phosphorous on your land and farms and keep your glass clippings on the lawn. If you have
property near a river, stream or lake, instead of mowing the grass there, plant wildflowers,
ornamental grasses, shrubs or trees, so that they can absorb the nitrates and other nutrients
that would usually go into the water and pollute it. Also, you can find out how much nitrate is in
your drinking water by contacting your county Environmental Services or Soil and Water
Conservation District (SWCD) and getting loaned a nitrate testing machine.